Vote the bastards out!

The Australian Federal Election is coming up and I wanted to provide some information for people who may not be sure of who to vote for – mainly about why you shouldn’t vote for the LNP coalition. This is not a neutral presentation, this is a shamelessly partisan call to oppose political policies that I think are nasty and hurt the most vulnerable people first. Here are the key things that rule out the LNP for me:

union

Protecting workers

LNP policies are a non-stop assault on ordinary workers. Painting unions as evil bad guys and trying to get people to forget that it was unions who fought for and protect every basic condition workers enjoy today. Here’s what you can look forward to if they get their way on industrial relations:

  • No penalty rates at all for anyone. If you think nurses working midnight to 8am on a Sunday don’t deserve penalty rates then you are quite frankly an awful person. If you can’t open your café on weekends because of penalty rates either learn how to run a successful business without exploiting people in an already lousy job then close it.
  • No protection of any type from unreasonable behaviour from bosses. Look forward to travelling in to work for a two hour shift because you’ll get sacked if you don’t. Look forward to being sacked if you protest against sexual harassment from your boss. Look forward to not even being paid – a serious LNP proposal is to make payment “in kind” legal. Thanks for coming in to work – this pizza should cover your pay for the shift.
  • Rampant exploitation of workers, particularly of young people. There’s a very strong push in the LNP to abolish any sort of minimum wage but their latest brain child is “internships” for young people that pay anywhere from $0-$4 per hour. Unpaid internships make sense in industries that are very hard to break into which makes any experience valuable. But the travesty proposed by the LNP would extend as far as “internships” stacking shelves in supermarkets.
  • Continued abuse and expansion of temporary work visas. Various forms of temporary work visas were meant to allow employers to import workers when an appropriate workforce couldn’t be found locally. They’ve been little more than a rort for years used to drive down wages in areas like construction, engineering and IT where local workers could easily be found. Isn’t it amazing how they consistently find “skilled” workers from countries with much lower pay rates? When Gina Rinehart describes Africans who will work for $2 an hour as something to aspire to, you know which way the LNP intends to push this policy.

The environment

LNP policy goes beyond not caring about the environment and climate change to aggressively pursuing policies that will accelerate the destruction of our environment and the worsening of climate change. They not only continue to push coal as an energy source despite the poor economic return and catastrophic environment al damage, they launch unhinged attacks on renewable energy and aggressively cut investment and research into renewables.

Education

The LNP continue to cut funding to state schools while increasing funding to private schools. They keep cutting funding to universities and making it more expensive to attain a university education. They clearly intend to deregulate university fees as much as possible making education even more expensive. And as far as borrowing for uni fees and only paying back when you reach a certain level of income – the LNP’s latest brainwave is to count the entire “household” income when calculating when repayment is due. So young people forced to live at home because of other government policies that stop them from earning a living wage will see their parents hit with the education bill. Purely and simply, LNP education policies take away opportunities from those who need the help the most and reward the richest in society.

Medicare

Make no mistake, Turnbull’s promise to not privatise Medicare is nothing short of a lie. They may go to the trouble of gutting the system and slowly bleeding it to death rather than straight out killing it so they can preserve the illusion that they didn’t lie but their policy goal is to destroy Medicare as we know it. Once again, the hardest hit will be the people least able to afford it.

Marriage equality

If you want to be part of the 21st century and acknowledge that two adults who love each other should be able to marry no matter what their gender or sexuality then the LNP is going to screw you and not in a consensual way. Malcolm Turnbull may or may not support marriage equality but he’s utterly beholden to the bigoted extreme right of his own party and he doesn’t have the guts to go up against them.

It’s obvious that Tony Abbott used the idea of a plebiscite after the election as a stalling tactic to put off any vote and never intended to go through with it. This became clear because when he was replaced with Malcolm Turnbull who definitely was going to go ahead with a plebiscite, the religious right panicked and went into high gear trying to derail the process. The simple fact that several members of the government have made it clear they won’t vote in favour of marriage no matter what the result of a plebiscite makes the whole thing an expensive farce.

If the LNP are in charge of the wording of a marriage equality they could easily corrupt it to increase the chance of rejection and if they get to set the public discourse, get ready for a lot of hate and increased attacks on LGBTI people. Just look at the wave of racism sweeping across the UK after the Brexit vote if you want an example of what can happen when bigots have their hate filled views validated.

Welfare

The LNP are typical Tories in that they oppose welfare if it goes to needy people but all in favour of welfare when it goes to corporate interests. You can’t get a clearer picture of the LNP priorities than the news that they intend to give $50 billion dollars worth of tax breaks to big companies (most of which will end up being funneled out of the country) while cutting $2 billion from welfare and pensions.


I’m not saying people who vote for the LNP are evil but I am saying the things we regard as important are very, very different. Top it off with Turnbull basically admitting you can’t trust anything he says and there’s no way they deserve your vote. At a press conference in Banyo, Queensland on Tuesday he said “What political parties say they will support and oppose at one time is not necessarily ultimately what they will do.” A rare moment of honesty.

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